CRUNCH TIME BUDGETCrunch time.

Only four full days, excluding today, left in the second extraordinary fiscal session of the Louisiana legislature called to fix the fiscal cliff, 2018.

Will the Louisiana legislature be able to come to an agreement prior to Monday midnight?  Will a legislative agreement include more cuts to higher education, the hospitals, TOPS, the prison system and government infrastructure? If so, will the governor John Bel Edwards sign the budget into law?

help friends jbe 2What’s a governor to do? What’s a Louisiana governor to do?

Which was somewhat the issue discussed yesterday. That’s when long-time State elected official and political observer Jim Brown and equally long-time political writer Tom Aswell (publisher of LouisianaVoice) and I got together online to talk about the current budget mess up in Baton Rouge.  That mess might also be known as the “second special Louisiana Legislative fiscal session of 2018”.  If the mess is not cleaned sufficiently over the next seven days, there is talk about a third crack at getting it right.

The Governor in question, of course is Democrat John Bel Edwards.  He has started his third year in office and is trying to get his agenda and budget plans through the Republican-dominated legislature. His approach is a blend of taxes and spending cuts.

billycBilly Cannon died this week. He was a Louisiana sports legend. There are some things you just don’t forget. Where you were on 9/11, or when President John Kennedy was shot.  Down here in the Bayou State, add to those special dates Halloween night 59 years ago when Billy Cannon made football history with his 87 yard run to beat Ole Miss and keep the Tigers undefeated. His story is the rise and fall, then the rise again by LSU’s all-time great sports hero.

bishopThe Louisiana legislature is back in session for the fiscal budget fix. The assumption and perhaps conventional wisdom is that the legislature will somehow compromise on the $650 to $670 million dollar shortfall compared to last year’s budget for government services.  But, that is no certainty. 

Earlier this year, when there was roughly a billion dollar shortage, the legislature failed to pass a budget and while the current projected budget is now smaller, it would still take compromising on the part of all the lawmakers and the Governor, John Bel Edwrds. 

politheater 3"Our Louisiana" or Political Theater? 

It depends on your politics and your choice of theaters, perhaps

Today, in Lafayette Louisiana Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards and Republican Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser started the sixth special session in two and a half years to deal with the Louisiana budget woes, left from the prior governor, Republican Bobby Jindal.

jbe laf Louisiana Oil and Gas looks for fairness during Louisiana fiscal legislative session as the sixth special session starts today

Today, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and lt. Governor Billy Nungesser are addressing a large crowd in Lafayette Louisiana as part of a new promotion of “Our Louisiana”. The obvious goal is to fashion some type of settlement so that the State of Louisiana can balance this year’s budget and perhaps, create a fairer and more stable method to structure the receipt of revenues and the payment of government services.  The special session, starting today, is the sixth--focused upon dealing with major shortages in the state’s budget.


edwards freeIn the end, the lure of a sensible, popular reform lost out to politics as usual as practiced by Louisiana governors.

At the beginning of the regular session just concluded, as part of his legislative package Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards included occupational licensing reform. It led to speculation that he might lead a move against unnecessary and onerous regulations that stifled business and professional development.

chicken legislature 4

by Ron Chapman

It has taken a while, but Louisiana has finally achieved the distinction of passing up Mississippi.  After a lot of effort, finally, we are LAST in Education. 

According to Wallethub, a credit scoring company, “Louisiana has the worst public school system in the nation.”  The state scored 48th in Math, 48th in Reading, 45th in drop-out rates, and 47th in ACT scores.   Only 29% of the population is college educated.  That should not be surprising when the state scores 40th in college readiness and 44th in High School graduation percentages. 

our laLouisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, in his sixth special session he will have called since he took office in 2016, apparantly has decided to break from the past, to mix things up a little bit and possibly surround himself among more friendly quarters when he opens the two-week budgetary battle-- with a speech.   Unlike the traditonal gubernatorial address held on the House of Representative floor, Edwards will take to the University of Lafayette campus. Along with him will be Republican Billy Nungesser, the Lt. Governor and other "stakeholders".

by Stephen Waguespack, President and CEO of Louisiana Business and Industry la confusion 5

For almost three years, the state Capitol has been absolutely, positively one thing: chaotic.
 
The 6th special session during this time-period begins this week and will once again pit the Administration’s desire for tax revenue against the Legislature’s lack of consensus on that very topic. This plotline should sound familiar by now.

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